Category Archives: Comment

Riding the Mountains

Riding the Mountains

One thing fascinates me more than any other thing in the mountains. No it’s not how do they get the lifts up there in the first place. No, it’s not how do lifties find it comfortable to wear ski boots all day long. No, it’s not who actually buys a whistling marmot, (please leave a short description of yourself if you have). And no, it’s not how many people do buy a bar/chalet in the Alps to run after an apres ski session discussing how they could run a bar/chalet in the Alps.

Seriously, the thing that fascinates me above all the wonders that the mountains has to offer is the humble piste basher and the people that drive them tirelessly through the night creating perfect corduroy and amazing snow parks. The wonder is made stronger by their mystical appearances at night. I can not be alone in finding myself perplexed at the lowness of a star in the night sky and the speed it is moving, only to then slowly work out that it is infact Pisten Bully plowing the white fields.

snow plough

If you have pondered the existence of the Piste Basher driver as extensively as me then you may have questions such as; “do they get scared grooming back runs?”; “do they get lost?”; “do they ever get to ski on the carpet they create or are they tucked up in bed?”; “who has the better job the day drivers on the night driver?”; “what is it like in the cab, is it cold?”.

One time, in Meribel I had the opportunity to find the answer to these and many more questions. It was at a time when I was working for a company called We had organised a Ski/Board – X event in Meribel. It started early and we had to be at the course, with our equipment, before the lifts opened. The wonderful Meribel Tourist Office helped us organise a lift.

At 6.30am at the bottom of the mountain in Meribel Mottaret we were met by a Piste Basher, we loaded up the bucket on the front with our kit and then to my delight I was invited to ride upfront in the cab. As I climbed into my seat I was grinning as if I had just spent the day riding fresh powder.

The cab is plush, warm and very comfortable. It was so warm that I sweated all the way up, in an my layers that ai had put on in preparation  for standing in the cold all day, while performing the unglamourous task of recording times. It was so warm in the cab that the driver just wore a t-shirt. The windows are massive and you get amazing views from most angles. The cab is also packed with an excessive amount of levers, buttons and technology, you have to be on top of your game to drive one of these. I have been to Diggerland and I would say that qualifies me to say that driving a Piste Basher is harder than driving a JCB.

The journey up was magical. The towns disappeared into the background and we were chugging up the empty pistes. We went up and down and at no point did I feel in danger, if anything I felt a bit more appreciation for the mountains that I frequently use for recreation. As the sun came up more of the landscape was revealed. The driver displayed his skills, as every contour change meant that he had to reposition the front scoop that normally shifts snow, but on this occasion was the carrying our boards and skis.

As this was probably never going to happen to me again I took the opportunity to ask the driver some questions that my GCES French could cope. I started by asking some easy question, where did he live? How many sisters has he got? Where is the nearest library? I then asked if this was the best job in the world? It must have been my translation but he didn’t get the question. Either that or he thought I was mocking him. He told me that it was a dangerous job but they kept the risk low. And I also found out that they don’t get lonely as they chat to one another on the CB radio, just like the old days.

If you ever get the chance to ride shotgun in a Piste Basher at dawn then I suggest you grab the chance. On that day I only did one run and that was to all the way down to Jacks Bar in Meribel center. But I have to say the lift up was the best I have ever taken.

If this has made you jealous then there are often opportunities to ride in a Piste Basher in resort either through the tourist office or local adventure companies. Ask your rep in resort to find out more.


What can replace the ski holiday?

What can replace the ski holiday?

For the sake of this blog I am going to declare that there are two types of skiers. This may prove controversial and I look forward to your comments that prove me wrong and make me feel silly. The two varieties that I am about to identify are based in the UK and have a regular job and home life. Type One is the casual skier and Type Two is the extreme skier.

Type One goes on a wonderful ski holiday, enjoys the mountains, takes pleasure in the company of the people they are holidaying with and indulge in food and drink. Most importantly they don’t consider skiing as an extreme sport. They may ski some challenging runs, occasionally venture off piste but not much and while they enjoy the thrill of a speedy decent they have little desire to be airborne, unless it is on the in or out bound journey.

Type Two will catch first lifts and ride until the lifts close. They will have plans to hike, build, race, jump, drop and even fly. They will probably like to party as well. They see a ski holiday as a way to get an adrenalin injection and will always look to push themselves hard. You will probably not find them having a long lunch or discussing ski fashion over a Chocolat Chaud.

But what do these skiers get up to when they holiday that doesn’t involve catered chalets, snow and mountains. Well,  Type One will probably be happy with lovely holidays to hot destinations, you know, like the sort of holiday that people who haven’t been on a ski holiday go on. Type Two will demand a lot more from their holiday. I doubt very much they would be happy sitting on a beach with the latest Jilly Cooper novel.

When I was young I was a Type Two snowboarder, so when not on a ski holiday or indeed working in the Alps, I was always looking for a better or equal rush. Surfing was a great alternative, in fact it was surfing that lead me to snowboarding. I preferred snowboarding and my surfing got put to one side. Why not do both, they are opposite ends of the seasons so are perfect bedfellows. Well many people do. And the rush of catching a perfect wave easily compares to carving down that fresh powder field and nailing that trick in the park has the same feeling of satisfaction as perfecting a move on your surfboard.  I may as well clump skateboarding into this paragraph, and just say I don’t get it, I have tried, but me and concrete just don’t get on.

So what other holiday options are there for me? I could go on a golfing holiday. Golf is not an extreme sport. But there is an interesting parallel and while it may not compare to the adrenaline rush of bouncing through a meter of powder, it is a sport that attracts the extreme sport enthusiast. The link is chasing perfection. Like in skiing, snowboarding and surfing you are always looking for that perfect run, that perfect day, the perfect wave. Even when you find it you think that was great but there will be a better one. This is the same with golf. While it is a competition there is a solo spirit to it, always looking to improve yourself, looking for the perfect shot or round. And when it comes, you always just want one more hole-in-one.

Climbing is another sport and holiday activity that I have become partial too. This sport has all the same as above and one thing golf doesn’t have. Jeopardy, part of an extremes sports appeal is danger. So unless you are partial to playing golf during lightening storms you won’t get that feeling. Climbing, is controlled safety and you can push your limits endlessly, from the tough route at the indoor centre to some exciting outdoor climbs. One of my favourite type of climbing holiday is the costal one. North Devon high steep cliffs are great for this and I try to go on a climbing week at least every two years, and like skiing the scenery adds to the enjoyment of the activity.

There are there options that I have dabbled with. I have been on sailing holidays, motorbike weekends, kite surfing holidays, potholing trips and mountain biking vacations, but none seem to fulfil me the way a holiday in the wintery Alps does. I still have a lot to try, I could look at some sort of flying week, or I could try scuba diving, then there is also a wakeboarding residential that I quite fancy. So many extreme sports out there, but will I ever replace the annual winter trip? I doubt it.






How to recreate a chalet holiday at home

How to recreate a chalet holiday at home

For most of us our next ski holiday is at least six months away.  Which is a long time! To help you cope with this long gap we have created a guide on how to create that chalet feeling at home.


Waking up and checking the weather is one of the excitements of a ski holiday. We all love a blue bird day so plan ahead and make sure it is going to be a sunny day. Put some polystyrene balls or cotton wool on your windowsill to give it that fresh dusting feel. If you like a white out then you can just spray your whole window with snow from a can.


Fill your table with cereals, fresh fruit, croissant, pain au chocolate, boiled eggs, porridge, yogurt  a selection of fruit juices, ham, cheese and tea or coffee. Eat as much as you like, you’re going to work hard today. Also cook your self some bacon and eggs. When sitting down to eat, make sure you are wearing your thermals. For a that authentic experience tune into a French radio station, or you could log on to a resort radio station such as R’ Meribel. Spend 10 minutes looking at a map.

Get Dressed

Get your ski outfit on. Don’t be shy, go for hats and goggles as well. Make sure you put sun cream on, you may burn. Putting on ski boots will help to make it feel realistic, but this may be going too far. Don’t forget to pack a ration pack in the form of some chocolate and a piece of fruit. Now leave the house and return five minutes later to pick up your imaginary lift pass that you forgot.

 Go skiing

You have a few options here. You could actually go to a dry ski slope or indoor ski centre if there is one close by. If there isn’t then first go and get on a public bus with your ski equipment, then catch it back to your chalet, (this is actually your house). When back at home put on an episode of Ski Sunday. Once it is over, go and sit in your garden for 40 min, with your goggles on, so you can work on your tan line. You want your mates to know that you have been on a fake ski holiday. After 40 minutes go back inside a watch some clips of other peoples ski holidays on youtube, then go back out to the garden. Repeat this process until lunch time. Heat up some wine in the microwave and drink it from a glass mug. Cook some chips, then wait until they are cold and eat with mustard mayonnaise. Give £10 to your next door neighbour. Now watch an extreme ski or snowboard movie then go and sit in garden again. You can now either repeat the last step or make yourself a hot chocolate make sure you add a shot of that random spirit you bought on your last holiday.

Après Ski

It is now nearly 4pm, head to your local pub. Make sure you are still in your ski clothing. Order half’s of lager and have a shot of vodka or maybe a Jagerbomb. At about 5pm you should be ready to dance. Head to the juke box and put a selection of rock tunes on. If you are planning Austrian après, then you may need to take your own music.  At 6.30pm you should decide to head home. Take ages finding your clothes that are now in various areas of the bar. Head out side and have a panic attack that your skis are not there. Remember that you left them round the corner.


Get home and have a shower then put on your favorite jumper. Sit in your lounge, with the fire on, if you have one. Get a glass of wine and some nibbles. If you want to go all out you should make some canapés, if you don’t have the time some twiglets and hummus will suffice. Have a look at a map of where you have been today. Maybe start a game of Jenga. Now serve you and your mates a three course meal. Feel free to invite some strangers too. During dinner drink more wine than normal, this is a holiday. Make a pact with the other dinners to get up early to do it all again. Drink some more wine.


This is personal choice time. You can either go to bed early. Or sit up in your lounge drinking whatever wine you can find, then go to bed when you can find no more. Or you could go out to your local pub again, then possibly move on to a night club.

If you really want to make this a true ski holiday you can perform this every day for a week. You could bookend it with a coach journey!

Alternatively you could just wait until next winter. 

Is Manchester the home of British skiing? (Probably not)

Is Manchester the home of British skiing? (Probably not)

Sometimes a blog can sound a bit corporate, after all, it is a mouthpiece of many companies. Some companies would use a blog to slyly promote their latest offer, like a ski holiday on the 6th of April to Meribel for only £499 per person. Not us. What we want to use our blog for is to talk about the five most amazing things that Manchester shares with our first love, skiing. You are probably thinking that we are going to bang on about the Chill Factore or about Alpine Actions Manchester to Grenoble flights that are still available for the 6th of April, well we are not. We have done a lot more research than that.

Max Beesley max

Remember Max Beesley, he was in Hotel Babalon and got his manhood out in period drama ‘Tom Jones’. He is also the man to go to if you are looking for a job. Max also comes from Manchester and is a keen skier. He loves the snow so much he launched a range of ski clothing. Like many of us Max had a few après ski drinks and thought “I could design a logo that would go on a hoodie and sell it”. Unlike many of us Max went and did it. You can now buy another hoodie with a snow related logo on it, although this time designed by Mr Beesley, from This is not a plug.

Judy Finnigan 

A popular lady, who did much for the concept of working with your husband if only to keep an eye on him. But we wonder how she keeps an eye on her husband, Richard Madley when he goes skiing. It is reported that Judy is not a big fan of the winter sport. She may go along for the free wifi, a snuggle near the fire and a glass of chalet wine. If she was clever she could book the whole family into the Chalet Rosalie for just £499 on the 6th of April.  But as they live in Devon now it may be too late for them to take advantage of our Manchester flights.


When you think of Oasis you either think, refreshing drink that is ideal for hangovers, something to do with the desert or Brit pop band Oasis. On this occasion we are talking the later. It is rumoured that Liam and Noel, who are from Manchester, once played a gig in a ski resort. It wasn’t the Meribel Little World festival, they were asked, but refused to support ‘The Feeling’. It was in fact the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in the mountains of South Korea. We have no idea if any of them went skiing or like skiing. What we do know is that they played their famous song ‘I am the Walrus.’

Mick Hucknell

Mick Hucknell is in some people’s eyes the person Manchester wants to forget the most. Over time his fame has waned. Recently he has seen a small resurgence in popularity, mainly down to his new role as Manchester’s only fat Shaun White look-a-like. Mick can often be found at the Chill Factore signing copies of Shaun White’s video game. In other Mick Hucknell ski relate news… Mick has not been killed in a Jet Ski accident, don’t know what I am talking about? Google it!

Some Girl from Corrie

If you watch Coronation Street then you will probably know who Michelle Keegan is. For fans of the Michelle you are probably thinking there is no way you can link her to skiing. Well we can. Promo hungry, ski loving, beanie hat makers Zaini have photographic evidence of her wearing one of their hats. Sadly this was not on the slopes but on a visit to Radio 1, but if she ever does go skiing we bet she will wear that hat.

And that concludes our look at how Manchester and skiing are linked forever. If at any point you felt that the message, about our holiday to the Chalet Rosalie in Meribel, leaving on the 6th of April from Manchester for only £499, was a bit to obvious then please get in touch.

Teaching a loved one to ski – Part two

Teaching a loved one to ski – Part two

To read part one click here.

It is half way through your ski holiday and you are your non-skiing partner’s unofficial instructor. Somehow instead of this feeling like a holiday it has become a chore.  Yesterday you got some skiing in on your own but this was more due to the misfortune of your partner rather than by mutual consent. When you did finally get back from skiing you found them on their fourth large glass of chalet wine. You persuade them to hobble out for some après ski.


You are both a little worse for wear, but the lessons must go on. You struggle through the pain of your hangover and your student struggles through their injury’s and hangover. You have little sympathy considering the near perfect ski conditions. Just when you were considering a temporary separation, something clicks and you now have a parallel turning sweetheart, of sorts.

After lunch you decide that it is the right time to suggest trying something more challenging. But before you can suggest it they get in first. So you choose a route that you think is realistic and set off. You wait a lot. You get cold waiting. Your attempts to cheer yourself up by flicking snow at your exhausted companion is unsurprisingly met with irritation. The lifts stop in forty minutes time. You could catch the free bus back or you could do “one more run”.

The lifts shut the minutes ago. Somehow you are still on one. It has been stopped for over twenty. Which is fifteen minutes longer than your hung over, tired, sore and cold partner’s patience will last. You should have caught the bus. It is dark and you are both silent when you get off the mountain. You are walking slightly in front and carrying two sets of skis. What you both want is a drink. As you enter the bar you spot the annoying couple from the chalet and are delighted.

The next morning you are the first down for breakfast. The annoying couple somehow talked your lovely and wonderful partner into getting a ski lesson. It doesn’t start until 10 but they are having a lie in. Let the holiday begin. Your holiday is soon cancelled with bad news. Flat light. It’s not that bad, but you think of all the good days you have missed. You meet up for lunch. They are having a great day. The instructor announces that they are a natural. You cough.

Over dinner you would be forgiven for thinking that your companion had been skiing all their life. You also find it hard to believe the distance they covered and the slopes they have been on. You should be pleased. If true you will have two more days of incident and fair paced skiing left. You should also be happy that your loved one loves skiing. Instead you feel a little inadequate that your teaching wasn’t very good. You console yourself with the knowledge that you did the hard work.

They weren’t lying. They can now ski at a reasonable level. They are now fast enough that the wait is now an enjoyable rest. The penultimate day is great. You chat, laugh, and even kiss on the chairlifts. You have a long lunch. They are celebrating their new passion and achievement. You secretly toast to the ski holidays of the future. There is even the inevitable chat about buying a place out there and the new equipment you will buy.

The last day is a late start. The new skier’s ability is holding up. You are both having a great time. You have lunch on the move. There is a thought in the back of your mind that you should supress but you can’t. Eventually you come out with how you think they should have one last challenge, you know they can do it. Three hours later you are still on the same black run shouting encouragement. Bad idea.

Teaching a loved one to ski – Part one

Teaching a loved one to ski – Part one

When you put “keen skier” on your dating profile, the chances you will get one of the UK’s estimated 1 million active skiers is slim.  There is slightly more chance of finding someone who has been skiing, once.  But I doubt it is a deciding factor when weighing up the options for a marriage proposal.  The chances are that you will end up with a non skier.

Skiing is often something you learn when you are young. For most of us we had ski lessons when we went on a family holiday or school trip. Learning young makes it easier when we are older. It also makes us more determined to fit in a ski holiday no matter what.

So what happens when you fall in love with a non-skier and finally pop the question; “Will you go on a ski holiday with me”? Let’s hope the answered was a yes, and delirious with joy,you book your holiday.

As the dedicated and experienced skier what you are imagining is this… Hooning down the fresh powder, fast groomed pistes and steep challenging runs. All the while your non skiing partner is in ski school until they are good enough to keep up with you. What they are imagining is blue skys, snuggles on chairlift, skiing down empty runs hand in hand, with rainbows and romantic music playing in the background.

 What will actually happen is that you will say, “You should go into ski school”.
“But I don’t want to. It’s our holiday and I want to spend it with you. Couldn’t you teach me?”
You think about the potential skiing that you will miss out on, but take your loved ones feelings into consideration. You look at the cost of ski lessons and think “bugger that, I’ll teach them myself”.

You arrive in resort, the snow has just stopped after 3 days of dumping, The forecast for the week is sun. It is now day one. You are stood on the baby slope with the person you love. They are stood there in ill-fitting, borrowed ski clothes, with their bronze ski hire. You look at the mountain and sigh, you turn to the most important person in your life and say “first we need to learn to snowplough”. By mid morning you have covered the nursery slope 3 times, you partner is happy with the progress, however, you look up to see the powder fields slowly getting tracked out.  After lunch you move on to turning. It’s not going as well as you hoped.

On day two you wake up hopeful that your lover wakes up to say how much they ache and maybe they would like a day not skiing? No such luck, they have the skiing bug. This should please you and you should consider the long term implications of this, more ski holidays. But no, you are disappointed, especially as your attempt to palm them off onto someone else staying in your chalet failed last night. You carry both your sets of skis to the beginner area, today we are going to try and learn parallel turning. An edge is caught, there are tears and an extended lunch break. Little progress is made in the afternoon as it is just a confidence building exercise.

On day three you consider leaving your skis in the chalet. You say “don’t feel like you have to ski all day. You can have a rest in the afternoon if you like”. Somehow this backfires and you are rewarded with kisses for being thoughtful, but your offer is declined.  You choose a gentle slope to “session” for the day. You know it would normally take you 5 minutes at the most to ski this slope. The First time today it takes nearly two hours. The second time it takes half an hour less. Your legs are cramping up, and you are cold from waiting around so much. “I’m just going to ski down and catch the lift back up, I will catch you up.” The thrill of skiing lasts less than a minute before you reach the lift. From the lift you see your pupil and spouse lying on the slope with two skis located uphill from her. They are moving, phew. You don’t wave. Maybe this will put them off for the day. When you ski back down you can’t find them. Your phone rings. They have had a tumble and gone back to the chalet. “You go and have a ski without me”. You know you shouldn’t, but you do. A frosty reception awaits you at the chalet, but you have had a great afternoon skiing. Chalet wine will sort this out.

Click here to find out how the rest of the Holiday goes.

La Tania to Les Arcs and back

La Tania to Les Arcs and back

A few years ago I had the pleasure of staying in the Chalet Hanneke in La Tania. There were two reasons I had chosen to stay in this chalet in La Tania, other that the first class reputation Alpine Action has. The first was because I have been luckily enough to work in Courchevel a few years back and wanted to relive the memories with some old friends. Secondly I was considering putting in a Jacuzzi bath in my house and as each room comes with one en suite it seemed to make sense.

The week was sunny, with good conditions on the slopes. The group had fun reliving the days that we spent when we were young season workers. We went to all the bars that we used to frequent, we even cringingly spoke to current resort workers starting with the line “I used to work here”, I believe one of us even tried to get “seasonnaires discount” at a bar. I think you could say that we tried to relive the dream. Naturally we reminisced and talked about stunts we pulled, adventures we went on and opportunities we had missed.  It was during one of these discussions that we came up with a challenge for ourselves.

  From Courchevel you can see the back of the La Plagne ski area which goes to down into the village of Champagny and from La Plagne you can get on the Vanoise Express cable car to Les Arcs. Also if you buy a full week long Three Valleys pass you are entitled to ski for a day in another ski area. It was this basic knowledge that formed the basis of our holiday/ reliving the dream challenge. The actual challenge was to go from La Tania to Val Thorens, ski across the three valleys then make our way to Les Arcs highest point via La Plagne. The rules were that we must only use public transport or lifts. The Jeopardy was that if we get stuck in Les Arcs or the wrong side of La Plagne we face a very expensive taxi ride back to our chalet in La Tania.

On the morning of our challenge, we had the inevitable drop outs due to an extended après ski session. We also had to kindly persuade a few weaker skiers not to come as this would be a long, fast, tough day with no hot chocolate stops.  We had a big breakfast in the chalet that included lots of coffee. We got our ski kit on and waited at the bottom of the La Tania gondola for it to open. Making it pre-first lifts is a challenge in itself. The ‘ liftie’ kindly let us on 5 mins early and our group of four explorers were off. During the first assent we convinced ourselves that we are probably the first people to attempt this, if nothing else we were at least the first people staying with Alpine Action to attempt this, either way we were skiing pioneers.

We reached our first check point of Val Thoresn in good time, the slopes were empty and the lift queues were nonexistent. To get to Val Thorens we dropped down into Meibel Center up to Mottaret. The mountain remained on our side as we made our way to the top of Saulire. It was as if everyone had remained in bed just for us. Our second goal of the day was achieved, even we couldn’t believe we had made it before 10.30 in the morning.

From the top of Saulire we looked down on Courchevel, ready for the first of several long descents. This one would take us through Couchevel 1850, and 1550, past Le Praz and down to Saint Bon at 1100 meters, making a total vertical drop of over 1500m. Surprisingly the snow towards Saint Bon was good enough to ski on, which was a relief as no one had bothered to check if the run would be open. It was here that we hit our first problem, where was the bus stop to Bozel. Bozel is a small town in the valley where would get on to another bus to Champagny.  We found the bus stop and were glad to see that we were in time for the next bus, so we waited and waited. The bus was only 4 minutes late but with our tight schedule this seemed like an age.

We reached Bozel and had 15 min until the next bus to Champagny, so we had a look around. The highlight for me was the Pizza vending machine which we vowed to use on the way back. The bus was on time and we sat down on the front seat for a quick disembark at the other end.

There was no queue for the bubble out of Champagny, but time was getting on we ate our lunch on the lift and started to raise doubts about succeeding in our quest.  We knew it was a pretty straight forward run to the Vanoise Express from the top of La Plagne, but we also knew that after that point we were going to be on a lot of chair lifts. Luckily for us the weather was lovely sunshine and light winds, also,  there wasn’t any fresh powder to distract us. Once  we were off the gondola we weaved our way up to the top of Grand Rochette, then dropped down to Plagne Bellcott just in time to miss the lunch time rush. As we reached the Vanoise we looked up to see that time was slipping away from us, it was almost 1.30 and still 6 lifts away from of Les Arcs Check point at the top of the Aiguille Rouge.

On the first lift out of Plan Peisey, doubt was beginning to creep in and the threat of a €250 taxi ride started to weigh on the group’s mind.  An argument broke out about which lift to take next. The lift we did take stopped for 20 minutes which left us dangling and angry. The lift finally moved and we were on our way down to Le Arcs 1800. The queue here was massive so we decided to split up an use the single skier entrance, this also gave us all time to cool down. At the top of Transarc gondola we regrouped and had a team meeting, we all agreed that making it to the top of the Aiguille Rouge was not going to be possible. The decision we made was to go to Arc 2000 have a celebratory demis and head back.

We ended up stopping on a bar terrace in Arc 1950, called Luigi’s. We were rather please with ourselves and thought that we had done very well. Back on our skis and down to a lift named after some bears we rode. I knew from experience that from the top of here we could make it to the Vanoise Express in one run.  Unfortunately I also knew that there were several errors that could be made that would mean we end up in the Village of Vallandry and an extra lift away from getting back across to La Plagne. So it happened that we ended up in Vallandry. The Piste map was confiscated from me and we went back up the hill.

Finally we were on the double decker cable car that would take us to La Plagne side of the where we then had to take 4 lifts up a hill side that only took us 8 minutes to come down. The lifts were in the shade and the sweat on our backs was cooling, we knew that we were still not safely home yet. The time was near 4 and the lifts were shutting soon. We had to get down into Plagne Center and back up to the top so we could ski down to Champagny, it was looking like we might make it. Finally we arrived at the top of the Arpette and could see where we had to be. By now our muscles had cooled and our legs were starting to ache. Nonstop down to Bellecote, silence on the next lift, then flat out to Plagne Centre.

We were pretty much the last people allowed on the lift up to Les Verdons. On the lift we congratulated ourselves for making it, this was the last lift we had to catch. The run from the top down to Champagny was the last run we had to do. It took us quite a while. It was a long way, with slush snow towards the bottom. We arrived in the valley with the sun setting and a burn in our legs. We now needed to get back to La Tania. We went to the bus stop to find out that we had missed it. We sent our best French speaker to the tourist office to break one of our rules and book a taxi. The taxi that arrived was a 52 seat coach that cost us €4 each. Maybe we hadn’t missed the bus after all.

In Bozel we discovered that we had defiantly missed the bus up to Le Praz. So we consoled ourselves with a vending machine pizza and played paper, scissors, stone to see who would phone the Alpine Action resort manager. The response was that they don’t make a habit of picking up stranded guests but  a there was a minibus on it’s way up the hill they would get it diverted. Half an hour late we were picked up by the company driver. He asked us how we had become stranded in Bozel. We told the story, with embellishments. His response was simply “legends”. An endorsement from an actual Seasonnaire, we at least achieved that.